Friday, October 11, 2013

How to Help Someone Who Is Grieving

Dear Jocelyn,
I have been with my boyfriend for nearly two years now and have come to know about the tragic death of his mother when he was young. I could really do with some help as to what I can do, as I have been with him for two mourning periods. During these times I feel absolutely helpless as I don't have a clue what to say or do as I have never been in a situation such as this before him. Any possible advice and help you could give me would be much appreciated. 
Thank you,
Grieving

Dear Grieving,
My condolences to your boyfriend; it is hard to lose a parent at a young age, and not be able to rely on their wisdom during the coming-of-age and adult years. I have written about a similar situation here. The hard part about this (that I mentioned in the other post) is that grief is unique. There is no magic thing to say or do. The most important thing is to show your boyfriend support, and let him know that you are there for him. When he is mourning, ask him if there is anything you can do for him, and if there isn't, then simply be available for him to talk to and mourn with. He might also not want to talk about it, and that's ok also.

Since his mother died when he was young, he has probably dealt with it in some way, and is most likely not actively grieving for her. In that case, just be understanding whenever he mentions her, and don't shy away from letting him discuss his memories of her.

I hope you can find the right balance. Let him take the lead on this (as I would recommend for anyone grieving), and see where it takes you.

-Jocelyn

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